Hidden within rural Quebec, on the St. Lawrence River, is a natural area teeming with wildlife and treasures, including a historic manor and rare plants.
History in nature
Discover the hidden treasures of rural Quebec
“To get to the area, you drive down a winding alley road lined with trees,” says Patrice Laliberte, senior project manager for the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s (NCC’s) Quebec Region. “Once you see the red and white barn, you know you’ve reached the Domaine Pointe-de-Saint-Vallier property.”
A rich history
In many natural areas across Canada, the main threat is habitat loss. The impacts of infrastructure have had a negative effect on many wild spaces, yet the old manor on the Domaine Pointe-de-Saint-Vallier property seems to stand harmoniously with the surrounding nature.
Spanning around 4,000 square feet on the 164-acre (67-hectare) property, the house is hard to miss. With a rich history dating back to the 18th century, the house is as synonymous with the property as the roots of the surrounding giant poplars, century-old sugar maples and red oaks.
In 1999, Robert and Gabrielle Amos, wishing to ensure the long-term conservation of the Domaine Pointe-de-Saint-Vallier, donated their property to two organizations dedicated to conserving historical and natural heritage: the Canadian Heritage of Quebec, which cares for the house and other buildings on the property, and NCC.
A migratory hub
While the house’s original fireplace and furnishings that reflect the style of the 1930s are an extraordinary site to see, the birds that migrate through this natural area are just as eye-catching.
Domaine Pointe-de-Saint-Vallier is located along one of the most important bird migration corridors in North America. It serves as a haven for many bird species. In fall and spring, greater snow goose and other bird species touch down on the banks to feed during their long migration.
“When you come here in the spring or fall, you can see snow goose and other migratory birds by the thousands,” says Patrice. “It’s an extraordinary sight.”
A place of remarkable biodiversity
As visitors make their way along the property’s one-kilometre-long trail, they’ll notice three distinct habitats: coastal wetlands, forest and hayfields.
The estate’s massive coastal area is home to at least 10 plants that, in Quebec, can be found only in the freshwater estuary. Among these are four species that are designated as threatened, two are endemic (they do not grow anywhere else in the world) to the St. Lawrence River estuary: Victorin’s water-hemlock and Victorin’s gentian, both named after Brother Marie-Victorin, a well-known botanist from the 1930s.
It is Patrice’s job to advance NCC’s mission to conserve and protect the biodiversity of this area, a place that he believes is well worth the visit.
“It’s a really beautiful place,” recalls Patrice. “You can walk through a forest and see hayfields. If you want to have an amazing time in nature, come visit the Domaine Pointe-de-Saint-Vallier.”
Photo Credits (Top to bottom): Claude Duchaîne; Claude Duchaîne; NCC; NCC; NCC; Brenda Van Sleeuwen; mellohrer CC BY-NC 4.0 (Creative Commons).